“Turtle Dolphin Dreams” is an imaginative, thought-provoking exploration of how humans, turtles, dolphins, and other beings in the animal world might connect and learn from one another. Despite its small size, it is not a children’s book but rather a metaphysical and visionary journey for adults, for those who care about our earth, and those concerned about our relationship with the earth and its creatures.
The premise of the story is that turtles have been invited into the dream world of dolphins, and they have been communicating through their dreams for some time. The dolphins wish to communicate with humans as well, but they have had difficulty in reaching us so they have asked a turtle to speak for them because turtles, being amphibians that can breathe both on land and in water, can better communicate with both earth-bound humans and water-bound dolphins.
The turtle narrator, named Turtledove, spends considerable time explaining the details of how the shared dreaming works and why the dolphins wish to communicate with people. I find this discussion fascinating, for I have long wondered whether it is possible to communicate with other people through dreams—George du Maurier’s much overlooked 1891 classic novel “Peter Ibbetson” explored this possibility, and I have always thought du Maurier visionary in his ideas, so I was elated to see Marian K. Volkman has imagined not only a similar but even more cutting-edge experience because the dream communication is between two different species.
The rest of “Turtle Dolphin Dreams” discusses lessons the dolphin world has to teach us about relationships, enjoying life and its pleasures, and the larger picture of life and the universe, called “the Seam.” The section I found most interesting was about play. The dolphins do not understand why humans forsake play as we grow into adults, feeling guilt and a need to justify playing rather than working, when life is meant to be enjoyed, and the more pleasure we can gain from it, the better. I have come across this message many times in the past, but I thought it was perfectly presented in this narrative; it is a message that bears constant repeating in our fast-paced world.
Is inter-species communication possible? Physically, some progress has been made, but the dream world remains a place needing considerable more exploration as a possible medium for such communication. I believe “Turtle Dolphin Dreams” is more than a fantasy. It is exploring what could be, and what will be if we only learn how to relax and be open to the possibilities of this world rather than narrowly relying solely on logic, science and hard work that limit our imaginations. After all, it was by being open to possibility that the author Marian Volkman received the idea for the book through what she describes as a “telepathic experience” (see www.turtledolphindreams.com for the inspiring story of how the book came to be written).
Imagination is what leads to creativity, invention and ultimately the progress of both human civilization and the soul. So many ideas from science-fiction novels of a century ago have become reality. A century from now, inter-species communication as inspired by “Turtle Dolphin Dreams” might just as likely become reality. I doubt anyone who reads this beautiful little book will be likely to forget the possibilities it opens.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. author of The Marquette Trilogy
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